Category Archives: St Mark’s Church

A concert to save our pipe organ ‘Emily’

St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale will be hosting a superb musical evening’s entertainment on November 14th at 7.30pm. This includes an organ recital by Stephen Lacey resident organist and director of music at St. Andrew’s Church Farnham, a choral repertoire by the Sedici with musical director Valerie Hoppe MBE and a performance from the Sedici recorder consort. There will also be a range of readings by a wide variety of authors from Noel Coward to Conan Doyle and J.M.Barrie to Kipling, all read by Rosemary Wisbey. Refreshments will be available during the interval.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest at St Mark’s said, “Emily is a beautiful Edwardian pipe organ that is just over 100 years old. She is referred to as ‘Emily’ after her benefactor – Emily Mangles. Sadly, she has been used very rarely over the past three years because after a century of service she is in need of a complete overhaul. The ‘action’ which links the keys to the pipes has become sluggish, the leatherwork is failing and the wind noise from the leaking wind trunks is detracting from her beautiful tone. The time has come for us to restore her.”

She continued, “There is no charge for this wonderful evening of entertainment but a retiring collection will be taken in aid of our pipe organ ‘Emily’. Please put the date in your diary and come along with all your friends.”

What is Knitivity?

This year in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale we have decided to take our nativity on a tour around the parish and this year we have a ‘knitivity’ This consists of a knitted Nativity which is being knitted by anyone and everyone during October and November.

Knitivity is all about preparing during Advent for the celebration of birth of Christ. It is a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.Our knitted Mary, Joseph, donkey and other characters will begin their journey from one of the three churches on Advent Sunday – 29th November (we’ll let you know which church nearer the time!) and they will travel around the parish, staying in a different home each night during Advent, and at each home one of the sheep will be left. We hope that during the day they will turn up in some of the more public places within the parish, such as shops, schools and offices. We will chart their journey with pictures on our Facebook Page. Finally, all the sheep will be re-united at the Christmas Day services in church – 9:30am at St John’s, 10:00am at St George’s and 11:00am at St Mark’s.

The idea of ‘Knitivity’ is not only to remind us of the real meaning of Christmas within the parish and the community, but it is also an opportunity to share hospitality with one another in our homes, whilst remembering the joy of the incarnation of Christ. When the nativity set is passed from one to the other there is a prayer of giving the set and a prayer of receiving it.

If you would like to be involved, please contact Kris on 01252 327832/07876 204665 krislawr@aol.com

St Mark’s is hosting its first ‘Apple Day’

Celebrate the first fruits of the Hale community orchard from 10:00 until 11:00am on 11th October at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale. The eleven trees in the orchard were each adopted by different community groups in Hale and have all thrived since they were planted in December.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest at the church explained, “We are delighted that our community orchard is bearing fruit and so we decided to celebrate! We will be having some entertainment including apple tasting and apple-y music and possibly dance. If that isn’t enough apply-ness there will be pancakes with apple filling to eat! There will be no religious element to the apple hour so come along if you have any faith or none and join in the fun. Afterwards, you are welcome to stay for the 11am service if you wish, there is also a bring-and-share lunch afterwards.”

John Ely, who has overseen the planting of the trees said, “We will bring a juicer, so if you would like to turn your apples into juice then bring apples that are in good condition, washed and picked from the tree along with clean two litre plastic milk cartons including the lid to put the juice in.”

TTT Sunday – Christian Stewardship

On 11th October at St Mark’s and on 18th October at St John’s and
St George’s we are having our annual TTT service – TTT stands for Time, Talents and Ten Pound Notes. I’m hoping they will be services that are filled with joy. Please do put the dates in your diary and come along as a priority!

What is Christian Stewardship?

Christian Stewardship is not a programme, nor is about raising money. Instead, it is part of our lifelong discipleship journey. We learn more and more about God’s calling on our lives and we learn how to open ourselves up in joyful generosity.

Stewardship is a way of life in which we regard ourselves and our possessions as being held on trust from God, to be used in His service. God has made us His stewards or managers of everything He has given to us: our time, our abilities, our possessions, our money, our whole lives.

Stewardship for Christians is not about giving so that the church can “make ends meet” but, rather acknowledging how generously God has given to us and then generously giving back to God and seeing His church grow as it is resourced for mission and ministry.

How can I know what my calling is?

Often others see our calling before we see it ourselves. But a good start would be to ask questions like:

– What gifts has God given me that might be used?
– What am I passionate about?
– Where do I long to see God act?
– What gives me energy?

When we use our gifts to do something that we are passionate about and it meets a need in God’s world then we have found our calling. It is very a very exciting journey! If you would like to explore this more deeply please talk to Alan or I – we love helping people to explore these things.

How should we give?

In 1 Corinthians 16:2, St Paul, encouraging the church in Corinth to give, said, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income.” From this we see that our giving is:

• A priority: A first call on our disposable income. We give what’s right, not what’s left.
• Planned: We should plan and review our giving to God through the ministry of this Church on a regular basis, using Gift Aid if we pay tax and, ideally, giving by standing order.
• Proportionate: As God blesses us with all we have so our giving should reflect his generosity by us giving a proportion, a percentage of our income rather than a fixed amount. The exact proportion can only be decided through prayer and reflection before God. And, at the right time in our lives and having made adequate provision for those we love, we may plan to leave a legacy as a proportion of our estate.

The Church of England suggests that a good number to start with is 5% of our gross income – or 5% of our net income and give the tax back through gift aiding. This is not possible for some and for others it is too little. You will know through prayer what the right amount is for you.

What next?

Come to the services to celebrate God’s generosity to us. Review your calling to see what God has for you this year and review your giving. To find out more email Alan – reverend.alan@gmail.com or 01252 820537

Developing our plans for Growing Spiritual Maturity

We would like to grow in Spiritual Maturity as a Parish and so the PCC formed a sub-group to consider how we might achieve this. We used the Diocesan review documents for Community and Personal Spiritual Maturity, which were really helpful tools to aid discussion.

There are four themes in the “Community” material:

Rooted Faith: how can we be a disciple unless we study scripture, understand how the Church came into being, know something about the Church of England (if we claim to be an Anglican) and engage in regular prayer and worship?

Working Faith: however we spend our days – in employment, unemployed, volunteering, job seeking, studying, retired, at home with children – and the list is endless – disciples need to be disciples all the time. Does our faith ‘work’ when we are at work? Do we see
our ‘secular’ lives as separate?

Responsible Faith: the environment, social justice, fairness, equality, stewardship, food production . . . how do we behave responsibly if we believe that God’s world is a gift?

Sharing Faith: being a disciple means witnessing to our faith whether that’s by telling stories, having a chat, engaging in direct evangelism, writing articles, being creative – and embodying Christ so that people see our faith and want to share in it.

For each of the four areas we spent time reviewing where we thought we were.

We also looked at the ‘Personal review’ and instead of each member of the group doing this individually, we considered  how we as a church might help people address these and brainstormed ways to move forwards in areas that were difficult.

For each topic we then picked out what we considered to be the best ideas.  Then at the end of the process we looked at all of the ideas again and determined which we wished to progress, and took these to the PCC for approval. They included:

Knitted Crib
We will have a knitted crib set for each church which people borrow for a day and tell the story wherever they take it – they add to a scrap book which accompanies it and then pass it on to the next person. This will help us take the story out into the rest of our lives.

Welcome Training
What does it mean to be welcoming and inclusive?

Carol Singing on Badshot Lea Green
This should be a fun event at Christmastime and also a way of telling the Christmas story.

Next Lent – Bible Study with Sermons before hand.
We will have a commentary as a Lent book and encourage people to read their Bible through Lent, and talk about it at the groups.

Course on Prayer in May 2016
We will set up a series of weekday evening meetings with visiting speakers to introduce different forms of prayer.

More House Groups – start in September 2016
House groups are a great way to grow in faith but people have so little time. We will do a survey – ask about frequency/format/which nights/whether it is best that they last a finite time. Perhaps 6 weeks then a break – say 4 times a year.

Magazine Series
We will interview people (not the usual suspects) to describe how they came to faith and who influenced them.

These ideas  were received enthusiastically at the PCC and various suggestions to improve them were made.

Now all we have to do over the next year or so is to implement them!

The Bug Hotel

A hotel has sprung up in the grounds of St Marks Church! The four story building with Victorian roof tiles is now ready to receive guests. These guests will not be paying however because it is a bug hotel!!

Constructed by the Adventurers it has been made completely from recycled materials and it is hoped that the residents will be beneficial to the orchard and other plantings. Many different habitats have been include with bricks, hay, pipes and wood in the hope that a wide variety of different species will take up residence!

On Monday the Adventurers went looking for residents. There are a number of snails and some spiders living there at the moment. Please let us know if you find any interesting creatures!

I’ll name that Hymn in One!

As many will know, Barry Hall has moved with his family to Bournemouth and Frances Whewell has agreed to be the new Parish Organist, playing at all three churches at various times in the month.

Frances will also be choosing the music, and together with her we are developing a “Repertoire” for each service.  That is a number of hymns which the congregation knows and loves, and which we will be able to sing about three times a year on average.  This restricts the number of hymns that we can sing, but means that when we sing them we will be more confident, and newcomers have some chance of getting to know the hymns and songs.

In drawing up such a list we are almost certain to get it wrong, and although we have been discussing this with the Worship Groups for each church, we would also like to offer everybody the opportunity to look at the list and offer their views – there is no guarantee that this will change the list in cases of personal favourites, but where it highlights an obvious mistake it allows us to correct it.

The lists are available on the web here.  Please do let me know

  1. what we have forgotten
  2. what we have included that no one knows (or likes!)

Weight of numbers will probably count for something in determining which changes get made.

Alan Crawley

Photo thanks to Georgie Fry

A change of hands on the Keyboards

It was a huge surprise in January when Lesley suddenly asked me if I would like to step into Barry’s organ shoes from early summer. I had to think about it for a while, as I was then singing in the choir at St Andrew’s in Farnham, and occasionally playing the organ there.

But I was drawn to the idea of helping with the music at all three churches in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale – it seemed like riches galore! It is a great honour to take up this post, and very exciting to help Lesley and Alan explore new musical ideas for worship. I hope to help Pamela in a small way with the St John’s choir, and learn about voice production in the ‘Voice for Life’ scheme for choral musicians. Perhaps we’ll be able to sing some simple anthems before long.

Musical traditions are being exchanged at St Mark’s – Bob Shatwell with his ‘folk fiddle’ is teaching me to ‘vamp the chords’ on the piano to accompany him in ‘All God’s creatures got a place in the choir’! I’ve yet to perfect this technique! In turn I’m helping Bob with some classical music, and at Easter we played some peaceful Bach after Communion, and joyful Bach at the end of the service.

The project to fundraise for St Mark’s Edwardian organ, ‘Emily’, is only just beginning. When her lovely mellow tone is restored, she can be used for the grander hymns, and so the music will be more diverse.

In April Barry invited me to the fortnightly Band practice at St George’s, and I was very impressed with the young people’s great enthusiasm in playing violins, flute, clarinet, and drums, with Barry on treble recorder. Margaret conducts from the piano with verve and humour which is infectious. I enjoyed choir practice there too. As I left Barry put the recorder under my arm saying, “you can play this now”! Never having played one before, we’ll see what happens in two weeks time!

My first task has been to choose the hymns for all three churches. They have individual styles of worship, and so the hymns have to be appropriate, and suit the theme of each service. We hope to enlarge the repertoire with modern hymns whose tunes are pleasing to all ears, if possible! Debates over hymns can become heated, but I hope we can all achieve harmony with our voices and our opinions, and together make ‘ a joyful noise unto the Lord’. Church music should create the right mood; it can be balm to the soul, it can break through depression, it can ‘call us back to life’.

There may also be a modern organ voluntary at the end of services sometimes. I hope you will allow that! I’m grateful for the support of my fellow organists at St John’s, and for all the encouragement from Lesley, Alan, Pamela and Barry. Thank you, everyone, for this great opportunity.

Frances Whewell

A New Vision for the Parish

The PCC have been working on a new vision for the Parish that can be simple enough to remember but can also be a tool to inform the work of the PCC and the work of the congregations. It is:

We are one Parish with three welcoming and inclusive churches.

Our vision is for the growth of God’s Kingdom so we aim to:

  • Grow in Spiritual Maturity
  • Grow in Numbers
  • Grow Younger
  • Grow in Community Engagement

The PCC will be looking at anything and everything that we do and asking how it contributes to all of these (or how it could contribute). If agenda items do not contribute to these then we need to question whether they should be done. There is nothing about governance in the vision – PCC, Safeguarding, Finance, Buildings, Insurance etc. These things are obviously important but they are a means to an end – not the end in itself.

Growing in Spiritual Maturity
We are all called to be Ministers of the Gospel and we are all on a Spiritual Journey. As a church we need to support people on their journey and in their ministering to others. This may be in groups, but different people learn in different ways and groups doesn’t work for everyone.

When we think about spiritual maturity what does it mean?
• Rooted Faith (Do we understand our faith?)
• Working Faith (What does Faith mean to us in the Workplace?)
• Responsible Faith (What are the implications for Social Issues?)
• Sharing Faith (How do we share it?)

There is a group meeting for six weeks to look at questions like this and work out what we can do as a Parish to help people. You are welcome to join, phone Alan on 01252 820537 to find out more.

Growing in Numbers
The numbers of people worshiping on a Sunday are an indication that we are growing in other ways too – a church that engages with the community grows, a church that cares about young people and families grows, a church that cares about spiritual maturity grows. Last year we had a “Season of Invitation” where the challenge was to not only be a welcoming church, but to be an inviting church too. This is scary for many of us, but we are hoping to run this each year.

Growing Younger
We are hoping to grow younger as an average in our congregations – not individually! At a rough guess our average ages are:

  • St Johns = 69 (with Sunday School = 45)
  • St Georges = 47 (with Dragons = 42)
  • St Marks = 39

The average in the Population = 40 (as many over 40 as under)

Now just because we are growing younger doesn’t mean it is not for older people – quite the opposite, it is about being intergenerational – Mission is the commitment of one generation to pass the Gospel onto the next.

Growing in Community Engagement
God’s Mission includes service to the local community with no strings attached. However, our experience is that when we do this then people who are seeking spiritual nourishment join with us on the journey of faith.